100 YEARS SINCE SINK­ING OF SHIP

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

NEXT Fri­day marks the cen­te­nary of the sink­ing of the SV Lap­wing on voy­age from Water­ford to Cardiff which went down on Novem­ber 10 1917 af­ter be­ing sunk by a Ger­man sub­ma­rine.

It was recorded that five hands on board the Lap­wing got into a lifeboat but were never seen again.

Amongst the five peo­ple miss­ing were three mem­bers of the Kearon fam­ily.

Now Stephen Kearon of Bal­li­na­clash has been trac­ing rel­a­tives to in­vite them to at­tend Wood­en­bridge Memo­rial next Satur­day, Novem­ber 11, at 2 p.m..

Stephen’s Grand­fa­ther’s two brothers and fa­ther were among the five whose lives were lost.

Joseph Kearon was the 65 year old Mas­ter of SV Lap­wing. He was a Mer­can­tile Ma­rine and was the son of the late Ed­ward and Cather­ine Kearon, of Mead­ows Lane, Ark­low. He was the hus­band of Frances Kearon, of Kyle­more, Ark­low.

Also on board were his sons 19-yearold Mate Ed­ward Kearon ad 17-year-old Or­di­nary Sea­man Ge­orge Kearon.

It is thought that the SV Lap­wing was sunk by gun­fire from the Ger­man sub­ma­rine U-95, and Stephen has been car­ry­ing out his own re­search.

‘In­ter­est­ingly there are also re­ports of them be­ing killed the fol­low­ing day off the east coast of Eng­land, when the SS Lap­wing hit a mine left by an­other Ger­man sub, but I sus­pect the con­fu­sion came from the two ves­sels be­ing the same name.’

Also lost at sea were Pa­trick Mer­ri­gan, a 23-year-old from New Ross, Wex­ford, and 18 year old Ge­orge Tyrell of Halls Lane, Ark­low.

Stephen ex­plains fur­ther: ‘the U-95 car­ried out five pa­trols, start­ing May 24 1917 un­til Jan­uary 16 1918 when it was sunk off Harde­lot, France with the loss of all 43 hands.

‘It sunk 14 ships and dam­aged three dur­ing these pa­trols. It’s Cap­tain was Athal­win Prinz . The wreck was iden­ti­fied in the 1990s and it is ly­ing in 40m of wa­ter mainly in­tact. Its hatches are closed, and periscopes re­tracted so it ap­pears to have sunk when sub­merged. There is huge dam­age around where the tor­pedo room was, so the divers con­cluded one of its tor­pe­does must have mal­func­tioned and sunk the sub.

‘Co­in­ci­den­tally my own two sons, Saoirse and Oisin, are aged 19 and 17, the same ages Ed­ward and Ge­orge were when they died 100 years ago.’

All mem­bers of the Kearon fam­ily are in­vited to at­tend Satur­day’s event tak­ing place in the Wood­en­bridge Memo­rial Park, where Joseph, Ed­ward and Ge­orge Kearon are re­mem­bered.

Stephen can be con­tacted via stephen@kearon.ie, or twit­ter @skearon.

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